Being supportive of everyone's 'thing'.
Sometimes it can feel like people don't really understand why art is so important to me. Because it's not important to them, they struggle to comprehend why something as simple as making pictures matters at all. And you can see this written all over their face when you try to tell them about the newest painting you've started, or an upcoming exhibition. Their eyes glaze over as they barely manage to sound interested. Does this happen to you?
Often you'll get comments like, "Oh you're an artist! But what's your real job?" or "What's your painting even for?" or "It's good that it keeps you busy." At this point I usually close up completely and ask them a question about something that's important to them instead. Delighted, they take the bait and launch into an hour long discussion about their 'thing' that I'm expected to be interested in. Even though they couldn't manage 5 minutes on art. Now, I'm more than happy to show interest in your thing - whether it be your favourite band, your forthcoming wedding, your kids, your pet cats or the new diet you're on. I'm cool with that, lay it on me. If it interests you, then I can appreciate you sharing that with me. And as someone who's a part of your life - I'll endeavour to support you in whatever thing you're passionate about. But if you can't do the same? It makes it a lot harder for me to invest in our relationship.
For everyone in my life who understands (or at least tries to understand) why art is important to me - you totally rock and I appreciate it more than you know. Your support brings me immense joy. But for those of you who just don't get why I'm passionate about art, and you're not even willing to acknowledge it's importance to me - I'm writing this to help change your mind. I'm pulling you back form the dark side. I'm not saying art has to be important to you - not at all. I'm just saying that you need to understand that making art is as important to me as your thing is to you. And that your thing is not more valid than my thing. Or anyone else's thing. All our things are equal! If you're reading this thinking... could she be saying that my intense passion for climbing the corporate ladder is as equally important as her passion for art? Yep. That's what I'm saying. And even your love and obsession for collecting buttons is as important as my love for art. Whatever crazy shit you love, good on you for being passionate about something. Even if I think it's garbage, and you think art is garbage - let's relate to that core passion and support each other. Shall we?
Oh. And another thing. It doesn't have to make money for it to be important. Not sure who decided money was the measure of value - but they got it wrong. Let's say you work a job you don't really like for money. You then trade the money you earn for things you do like - say a new tv, clothes, or a holiday. So the equation is work = money = happiness. With art, it's a much quicker way to happiness. Art = happiness. I don't even have to work to get money to get happiness - I just skip straight to the happiness! No, I don't make as much money as you. But I also don't spend most of my time being miserable and then throwing money at things to make me happy. So please don't be so quick to judge people who don't earn as much as you, everyone has the right to choose their own lifestyle.
So, I'm going to try and be more supportive of everyone and their thing. Especially when it doesn't interest me personally. Hopefully, everyone else can try and do this as well. Then we'll all live in a happy place where everyone is encouraging and supportive of each other's passions no matter what! Hooray!